Why Brian Davis is My Hero for Today

Picture this. You’re in a sudden-death playoff. You hit your approach shot into some hard-packed sand and reeds down the left side of the hole. A troubling situation for sure, but after closer inspection, you’re convinced you can pop the ball out and on to the green for a chance at par. You go for it, and are successful at extracting the ball to the green. But wait, you think you noticed a loose impediment move on your backswing. Did you hit it? Do you call a penalty on yourself?

Brian Davis waits for the ruling from on-course referee Slugger White

Brian Davis waits for the ruling from on-course referee Slugger White

That’s the situation that faced the 35 year-old Brian Davis at the Verizon Heritage last night at Harbor Town. The Englishman was locked in a sudden-death playoff with Jim Furyk, when he slightly hooked his second shot into the garbage short left of the 18th green.

Brian thought he noticed his club strike a loose impediment, and IMMEDIATELY called a rules official over once the ball came to rest. After some discussion between rules officials and Brian, it was determined that if he did strike the impediment on his backswing, that a 2 shot penalty would have to be assessed. Brian took the penalty, and Furyk won the playoff.

True, Furyk probably would have won the playoff anyway (he lagged his birdie attempt to about 2 feet for par), but that’s not the point here. The point is that Brian played by the rules, he played with heart, and put any title or monetary reward down the list in terms of his priorities. To win, he wanted to do so by the rules.

Golf is a game of character, honor and integrity. Following Brian Davis’ actions on the 18th at Harbor Town yesterday evening, I think we can all agree Brian is overflowing with those traits, and more.

After Furyk drained his par putt and Davis had a chance to reflect, he had this to say:

“I want to win a PGA Tour event more than just about anything but I play by the rules and no victory would be worthwhile if it had a cloud hanging over it. I saw the grass move, called Slugger (White, the referee) over and that’s it, end of story.”

Well done, Brian. Although you didn’t win the event, you won a lot of respect and admiration from tour players, fans, and golfers worldwide.

*tip of the cap*

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